The coronavirus is exposing longstanding vulnerabilities that our Alaska Native communities have faced for years. Many of our people are more at risk because of factors related to high rates of diabetes and heart disease. These conditions faced by Alaska Natives — many living in remote, rugged environments with limited infrastructure and services, including healthcare — further exacerbate the risk exposure to the virus.
The ongoing litigation delay in CARES Act funding for Alaska Native people does a tremendous disservice to Alaska Natives. Our communities deserve better.
We support relief funding for all vulnerable populations, particularly indigenous communities across the nation. We applaud Congress for taking the crucial step to offer aid in this time of profound crisis. And we are profoundly saddened by efforts in the Lower 48 to limit this badly needed assistance for Alaska Natives.
At Sealaska, we are working in close coordination with our tribes to support our Alaska Native people and rural communities to navigate this crisis. Prior to the introduction of the CARES Act, Sealaska committed to making $1 million available to help with immediate COVID-19 relief for shareholder families and neighbors. CARES Act funding would further these efforts.
We hope that all of our shareholders, tribal citizens and communities stay safe, and we will continue to do our part to help during this difficult time.
- ANCs have long been recognized as Indian tribes in certain federal statutes and programs, and again in the CARES Act
- CARES Act funding cannot be used for typical corporate purposes, as all funds must be tied to the impacts of COVID
- CARES Act funds cannot be used to replace lost revenues
- The funds are for necessary actions taken to respond directly to the public health emergency of COVID
- Funds must be spent by Dec. 31, 2020; or at least committed by Dec. 2020, and paid within 90 days after Dec. 31, 2020
- ANCs will be involved as a vehicle to support Alaska Native people, as we have the structures in place to benefit our communities
- Unlike Lower 48 tribes, in Alaska the federally-recognized tribes and Alaska Native Corporations must work together to meet the economic, social and cultural needs of Alaska Native people
- We share this responsibility, as Congress addressed Alaska Native settlements differently
Reference Sealaska’s original statement on the CARES Act here.